Mary Lau: You Are Appreciated, An Open Letter to Nevada’s Retail Employees

At the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic Nevada’s retail workers took a front-line position in keeping the supply chain working and providing goods and services to our fellow citizens. The federal government determined retail “essential businesses” and Governor Sisolak followed their guidelines.

Granted, some excessive buying and slowed deliveries exceeded some capabilities but none-the-less you, the backbone of our industry and our communities, donned masks and, as an essential worker, continued to serve the public while attempting to slow the spread with masks, information, action and perseverance.

Our employees that were determined to be in non-essential roles, such as restaurants, sacrificed both job and family income only to run into an incompetent and outdated unemployment division that left many of you in untenable economic hardship.

Finally, the spread did start to diminish and government agencies were informed that the fall would bring up the numbers of infections, and also that there was a variant “Delta” that was looking to be a problem.

Unfortunately, preparations for increased infections and Delta took a back seat to reopening the strip casinos and large venues. Clark County experienced a surge that shouldn’t have but did catch them off guard. The Clark County Commissioners then discussed the situation on July 20, 2021 but surprisingly enough never talked about reopening vaccination sites, increasing their outreach efforts and imposing the masks and social distancing on visitors to the state.

Don’t get this wrong, the tourism dollars are vital and while I’m not as confident about the test runs at Allegiant the government coffers got a huge influx as pent- up demand met an open gaming and entertainment venues.

What I am saying is that our citizens and our employees were once again placed in a difficult situation. You were ordered back into your masks as an effort to protect the public health. This mandate will be in effect until August 17th, unless other measures require more strident mandates. By the time you receive this open thank you, hopefully the end is in sight again.
The retail stores, restaurants and other service companies that you work for are so proud of you and your sustained efforts. It was glaring that the Clark County Commission never acknowledged your sacrifice (with the exception of Commissioner Gibson) and only scolded about the positivity rate going up without ever really explaining the why.

You as members of retail teams are amazing people and RAN and its member companies want to take this opportunity to say thank you for what you do and how you do it.

*Editor’s Note: On July 21st Clark County mandated all employees wear face coverings in indoor public places, place signs at the doors encouraging the public to wear a face covering, and to submit safety plans regarding employee safety. On July 27th the CDC encouraged all people to wear a face covering while indoors in public places. Lastly, on July 29th the governor ordered a new indoor mask mandate.